Mayoral candidates begin to respond

So far, three of the 11 candidates for Miami-Dade mayor have responded to Green Mobility Network’s eight questions on transportation issues. We’ll add other answers as soon as possible after we receive them.  Here’s what we have so far. For further questions and answers, select “Read more.”

1. How do you usually travel downtown?  To the airport?

  • Pedro Cancio: On my Buick because I live in Key Biscayne and there is no metrorail or convenient transportation to the airport. When I was county commissioner in 2002 I did use the metromover to get around downtown.
  • Carlos Gimenez: I usually travel downtown and to the airport by car.
  • Gabrielle Redfern: Downtown:  Bicycle to People Mover to Government Center. Airport:  150 Bus.

2. What does the term “complete streets” mean to you?

  • Cancio: Complete streets mean street s or roadways similar to some in the community where I live in Key Biscayne that are designed with all users in mind (including pedestrians, bicyclists, individuals with disability, etc).
  • Gimenez:  Complete streets combine a variety of transportation options, allowing safe access for everyone – pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, transit users, etc.
  • Redfern: A beautifully finished street with street furniture, pedestrian lighting, clear wide sidewalks, curb and gutter, vertical and horizontal landscaping, a striped bike lane and no more than four travel lanes for automobiles of n more than 48 feet.  Wholly residential streets can forgo the curb and gutter and trade the bike lane for a sharrow.

3. How can Miami-Dade County best enhance facilities for walking and biking throughout the community?  Two or three suggestions will suffice for now. 

  • Cancio: The proper marking on the streets and the proper paving of roadways and of even sidewalks are a good start.
  • Gimenez: While the county’s Public Works department maintains pathways for recreational cyclists and pedestrians, we must find the right balance on our city streets to safely accommodate foot and bicycle traffic while moving vehicular traffic efficiently.
  • Redfern: a) Development of active transportation ways to transit, b) Provide more bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings, c) Pay for it by increased parking fees.

4. How can the county help the public, including businesses, get more use out of Miami-Dade Transit – the buses, Metrorail, and Metromover?

  • Cancio: . . . We must provide incentives to businesses to have their employees and customers ride public transportation.
  • Gimenez: In order to increase ridership, we must convince commuters that mass transit is a viable alternative to their cars. They need reliability and convenience – to know that the bus will arrive when it should and that the trip will take about the same amount of time as by car.
  • Redfern: Transform MDT into a regional provider of transportation linking communities with smart technology-advanced rolling stock and stops.

5. What is most needed to improve service on the transit system?

  • Cancio: The first vacancy that I am going to fill as mayor, is that of a new Transit Director. That department needs leadership and someone with common sense. Parts of UMSA (unincorporated portions of the county) need to receive additional funds from the Transportation Fund to provide local routes that will connect with major transit hubs similar to those in municipalities like Coral Gables and Doral.
  • Gimenez: See # 4.
  • Redfern: For me to be elected as mayor.

6. Are you for or against the proposed conversion of the South Dade Busway into a toll highway?

  • Cancio: In favor of a more efficient utilization of those lanes that are empty most of the time while traffic is bumper to bumper on U.S. 1. Those lanes cold also be used by commuters who carpool and not only those that pay tolls.
  • Gimenez: The South Dade Busway is currently underutilized and uses should be expanded.  We should look to the 95 Express lanes as a model.  Those lanes allow for both bus and automobile traffic and have increased commuter speeds in the non-express lanes by giving drivers another option.
  • Redfern: I am undecided at this time.

7. Will you support local financing of facilities for bicycling and walking whether or not federal funding continues to be available?

  • Cancio: In principle yes but in these dire economic times, we have to look at the cost of such programs.
  • Gimenez: While I strongly support cycling and walking facilities, local funding is extremely limited right now. Given the current financial environment, we need to look at other sources.
  • Redfern: Yes.

8. Do you embrace the policy articulated last spring by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: “Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems.” Please explain.

  • Cancio: Yes, I do. We live in one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians in the entire county. It is very sad to see bicyclists and pedestrians hit on an almost daily basis in this county. . . . We must have an educational and awareness campaign for drivers and citizens about sharing the road.
  • Gimenez: Yes – that is an important part of creating livable communities.
  • Redfern: Yes.  My actions speak for themselves.

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